December 16, 2012

Quick Holiday Dessert Recipe: “Berry, Spice and All Things Nice” Crisp

If you’re looking for a quick holiday dessert—or just something to do with the frozen berries in your freezer—a crisp is the perfect answer. I grew up eating blueberry crisp at pretty much every family gathering we ever had, and then, later in life, discovered you can make a crisp with way more than just blueberries. You can practically make one out of anything (as the title indicates, though, they must be nice things).

I wanted to “holidify” (as in, make more holiday-ish) the traditional crisp recipe, so, naturally, I added cranberries and cinnamon. Perfection. (By the way, check out this cool article on sustainably grown cranberries in the Pacific Northwest.) If you don’t have these types of berries on hand, experiment. I think this would be wonderful with peaches. Or blackberries. Or both.

This recipe only takes about 10 minutes of prep time. And if you were to score the amazingness of foods based on the ratio of prep time minutes with end-product-deliciousness points, this crisp would score very well.

(Note: Please excuse the imperfections of how this looks. The berry gooeyness could simply NOT be contained by the buttery, sugary crisp topping. Not a bad problem, really. Unless you’re looking solely for photogenic qualities in a dessert.)

A quick holiday dessert of berry crisp cooling in pan

Before we dive into the recipe, here’s a “think local” tip: Pick no-spray blueberries, strawberries, and other berries locally while they’re in season, and freeze in batches (go to to find a farm near you). Then, they’ll always be handy when you need to whip up a quick dessert.

Ingredients for berry mixture:

2 cups frozen, picked-local strawberries (let thaw at room temp for a few hours if you can)
1¼ cups frozen, picked-local blueberries
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tbsp organic corn starch

Ingredients for topping:

1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/3 cup unbleached organic flour
3/4 cup whole organic oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 chopped, local walnuts
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp organic butter from pastured cows


Grease a glass baking dish with butter (I used a 9-inch-by-9-inch dish). Stir all ingredients for berry mixture together in a bowl. Add to baking dish.

In a separate bowl mix all topping ingredients with a pastry cutter (or a fork, if you don’t have one) until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Evenly spread topping mixture over berry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Serve warm and eat happily.

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